Prayer Must Lead to Integral Liberation, Pope Says

Continues Reflections on Psalms

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

VATICAN CITY, MAY 23, 2001 ( John Paul II says prayer must lead to a commitment for the integral liberation of every person.

The Holy Father explained his idea of prayer during the traditional midweek general audience, which drew 13,000 people to St. Peter´s Square today.

Thus the Pope continued this year´s series of reflections on the Psalms, the compositions of the Hebrews that mark the rhythm of the life of prayer in the Church.

On this occasion, the Pope chose Psalm 149. Striking for its warlike references, it nevertheless is a prayer that can help Christians offer thanksgiving to God «from a heart filled with joy,» the Pontiff explained.

«In the present perspective of our prayer, this bellicose symbolism becomes an image of our commitment as believers who, after having sung the morning praise to God, go out on the roads of the world, in the midst of evil and injustice,» the Holy Father continued.

«Unfortunately,» he said, «the forces that are opposed to the kingdom of God are imposing: The Psalmist speaks of ´nations, peoples, kings and nobles.´ Yet, he is confident because he knows that he has the Lord next to him, who is the real king of history. Therefore, his victory over evil is certain, and will be the triumph of love.»

The Holy Father said the other protagonists of the Psalm are «the poor,» that is, «the humble, … the oppressed, the persecuted for the cause of justice, but also those who, being faithful to the moral commitments of the covenant with God, are marginalized by all those who choose violence, wealth and arrogance.»

John Paul II said that «the ´poor´ is not only a social category but a spiritual choice. This is the meaning of the famous first beatitude: ´Blessed are the poor in spirit, because theirs is the kingdom of heaven.´»

The Holy Father clarified that the «day of the anger of the Lord,» mentioned in the Psalm, refers to the moment «when the ´poor´ are arrayed on the side of God to fight against evil.»

«On their own, they do not have sufficient strength, or the means, or necessary strategies to oppose the outbreak of evil,» the Pope said. «Yet the phrase of the Psalmist does not allow for hesitations: ´The Lord loves his people, he crowns the humble — ´anawim — with victory.´»

It is what the Apostle Paul meant when he explained in the Letter to the Corinthians: «God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are.»

The Pope ended by giving the Magnificat, Mary´s song in St. Luke´s Gospel, as an example of liberation: «joyful praise to God the Savior, thanksgiving for the great things wrought in her, struggle against the forces of evil, solidarity with the poor, faithfulness to the God of the covenant.»

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation